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Commercial and International Surrogacy Laws

Commercial surrogacy is the process in which an individual or couple pays a fee to a woman in exchange for her carrying and delivering a baby. At birth, the child is turned over to the individual or couple, either privately or through a legal adoption process. Often couples with fertility problems, same-sex couples, and single people who wish to become parents are the most common types of people who seek surrogate mothers. Finding a surrogate mother often brings many wishful parents to contact international surrogate carriers. However, international surrogacy laws differ and leave most wishful parents asking many questions that they often have trouble finding answers for. Read below the top five commercial and international surrogacy questions that have been answered by Family Lawyers on JustAnswer.

What is international surrogacy?

International surrogacy is defined as a surrogacy arrangement, regardless of how it is organized, involving an overseas country. This often includes:

• Surrogacy involving a commercial arrangement (e.g. in instances where money is paid to the surrogate mother and/or the medical practitioner and the surrogacy procedure takes place through a designated fertility clinic); and/or

• Surrogacy involving a compassionate or altruistic arrangement (e.g. the surrogate is known to the commissioning parent(s) and an arrangement has been made between both groups without any profit being made.

Is international surrogacy legal in Australia and if not are there other countries that it is legal in?

Surrogacy in Australia is not legal. Most surrogacy takes place overseas usually in India or the United States. In the United States and many European countries, the issue of commercial surrogacy is often scrutinized heavily by local and federal governments. Some U.S. states ban surrogacy contracts altogether, while others allow them with certain restrictions. Surrogacy is legal in England, but agencies that charge a fee for finding a surrogate mother are not legal. As of 2010, surrogacy was completely illegal in France, Germany, Norway, Italy, and several other countries, regardless of whether it is for profit or not. Strict laws in such developed countries have led to a rise in international surrogacy in lesser developed nations, such as India, which legalized commercial surrogacy in 2002. If you are not sure of the legality implications on international surrogacy, you can ask a Family Lawyer on JustAnswer for answers that can help alleviate the unknown legal issues.

What legal process would someone have to go through to participate in international surrogacy in Australia?

In most situations the contract would need to be drawn up and entered in the county where the surrogate resides or is in at the time. However, once the child is born you would be listed on the birth certificate. The next step would be to then apply for a visa to bring the child to Australia. This would not be considered an adoption so you would need to register the birth of the child with the Australian Embassy overseas and then at this stage the child would be given Australian Citizenship.

Can a US citizen by naturalization have a baby with a surrogate mother in Canada? What would the US parents need to bring the baby to the USA?

In most situations, a US citizen can use a surrogate to have a baby. When the baby is born, you will then need to acquire a document known as a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of an American Citizen (CRBA), as well as a U.S. passport for the baby at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Canada. You must have proof of the biological relationship; a DNA test of either or both of you should be sufficient proof of said relationship. That means you would likely need to spend some time in Canada dealing with this matter before you can return to the US, because these types of legalities can take time.

Is it possible for a single man to arrange a surrogacy in Ukraine without the risk of the child not being allowed entry into the UK if the child is biologically related?

Provided that the single man is listed and named on the birth certificate that would give them parental responsibility under Ukrainian law. In most situations, they would also need to have the consent of the mother. Then they would be able in most cases to bring the child to the UK without any difficulty.

Countries that have declared commercial surrogacy illegal usually cite ethical reasons for the decision. Some see paying for a surrogate mother as renting or buying the human body or a human life. Often this leaves many wishful parents feeling defeated. Since state and country laws differ many times you may need to consult outside help to answer your legal questions. Family Lawyers on JustAnswer can help answer all your legal questions when it comes to Commercial and International Surrogacy.
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